Author Topic: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable  (Read 8324 times)

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Cherry91

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Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« on: February 16, 2014, 03:14:14 PM »
I have a polite spine success story!

I have a friend, and he is lovely, but he can be a bit clueless. One of his worst habits is that he can rarely accept a no on the first go. He'll invite me out, and if I can't make it, I'll let him know, then I'll get another message going "Oh go on" and "Just one drink" and so on, and it drives me mad.

A few days back, I was having a really bad, stressful day, and in order to vent, I posted on a private group on FB a couple of times, but aforementioned friend was out all day so he didn't see it. He then invited me out to have drinks with him and a few other of our friends... Except he'd already asked me the day before, and I'd said no as I was still recovering from a cold. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and said no again. Sure enough, a few minutes later my phone buzzes, and it's him asking yet again. I got slightly short with him (he claimed we were "bartering", to which I replied "No we're not. Stop.") and I stopped replying to him.

So yesterday, I get a text from him, saying that he'd only just seen my posts on FB about what a bad day I'd been having, and he realised he'd been overly pushy on top of that. I sent back the following after rewriting it about a hundred times:

"Yeah, well please keep that in mind next time you ask me the same question 3-4 times and then ignore my response because it's not the one you wanted. You actually put me out quite a bit yesterday by doing that. I said no, as I have every right to. It was not an invitation to "barter" as you put it, and if you ever put it like that again you risk us falling out. But thank you for apologising."

He's since apologised again and promised that next time I say no, that'll be the end of the discussion. We'll have to see if it sticks, but he seems sincere about it.

TootsNYC

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2014, 03:18:36 PM »
Go you!

And yeah, I'm with you, good that he recognized he shouldn't have pushed, since you'd been having a crummy day, but the TRUTH is that he shouldn't have pushed you even if you'd been having a *wonderful* day.

It really doesn't matter, and it's just as annoying--and just as rude--either time.

I hope it sticks, and maybe he'll take that lesson to other places in his life. Sometimes people really do need a thwack aside the head.
  I know that sometimes I've gotten one, and it -does- then affect how I deal with other situations. I do truly learn, sometimes. (sometimes!)

green.and.blue

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 06:32:29 PM »
Reminds me of the "asker" v "guesser" thread. My FIL is a "won't take no for an answer" kind of guy, and about ten years ago I asked him to take me at my word when I said no thank you to a generous or kind offer. He argued back at the time that he liked to ask again so people would know he "really meant" his offer.

I told him specifically that we could play it like this: I would turn him down once, and he could ask again. But if I turned him down again, I really really meant it, and if he asked again then *I would get sad and upset* which was not what he intended.

He admited that he had actually never thought about what the other person might be thinking!

TootsNYC

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 06:45:03 PM »
A great response to someone like your FIL is to say, mildly, "Please don't put me in the position of having to refuse your generosity yet again."

Morticia

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 03:07:09 PM »
A great response to someone like your FIL is to say, mildly, "Please don't put me in the position of having to refuse your generosity yet again."

That is fantastic. I will have to remember that one.
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EllenS

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 10:25:53 AM »
See, I love stories where a friend really is clueless and not toxic.  You can tell from this guy's sincere response that he is teachable and well intentioned. Toxic people refuse to learn and grow, and do not have compassion for other's feelings.
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o_gal

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2014, 12:41:10 PM »
he claimed we were "bartering", to which I replied "No we're not. Stop."

I think he also needs a clue about what is "bartering". I think he meant "bantering". Bartering would mean that you are exchanging goods with each other. Bantering would mean that you are playfully going back and forth in a pseudo-argument style.

TootsNYC

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2014, 12:44:17 PM »
No, he may have meant negotiating. Bartering is a form of negotiating.

kategillian

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2014, 01:06:10 PM »
I run into this kind of thing all time. I am a no means no kind of person. I'm baffled by people who say no, but really want people to convince them. Whether it's an extra piece of cake, a night on the town or whatever! Why can't people just say what they mean!

Tea Drinker

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2014, 01:55:08 PM »
No, he may have meant negotiating. Bartering is a form of negotiating.

He may have meant something like "negotiating," but if I say "no, thanks, I don't want to do that" and someone wants to "negotiate," they need to offer something better or different than I've already declined.

If we are in any sense "bartering," he's trying to offer something I am interested in in return for my time. Cherry91 had already said that she wasn't interested in what her friend was offering: repeating the same request three times doesn't make a negotiation. If I don't want to go out for drinks, "just one" isn't a good counter-offer, it's an attempt to wear me down. The problem is, there are a lot of people who have been led to believe that if they ask for a large amount of something and are told no, it's a reasonable negotiation to push for a yes (the "oh go on") or ask for less of the same thing ("just one," with the likely pressure not to go home after one if Cherry had given in and accepted "OK, I'll meet you for just one drink"), rather than considering what the other person might actually want and offer that. "Bartering" might have been "I'm sorry you're not feeling well, would you like me to stop by with some chicken soup?" or maybe "I'll call next week, you should be feeling better by then" rather than "[I don't care that you're sick,] come out for drinks with us."
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DanaJ

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2014, 05:36:41 PM »
On another message board, I read of a cultural difference that I have never encountered. I may be misremembering the demographics, so please forgive me if this is incorrect, but I believe one poster was referring to the Southern U.S. and another (who was the OP of that thread) had this issue come up with an Asian girlfirend (I'm afraid I don't remember where in Asia or East Asia she was from).

In both these cases, the posters had offered food/drink to a guest, the guest had declined, and later the posters found out they had made a faux pas because their guests were expecting to be asked no less than three times. According to them, it was like a script of manners. The host offers, the guest politely declines, the host offers again, the guest declines, and on the third offer, the guest accepts.

I remember the one poster in particular was morified because he'd offered to make his girlfriend dinner, she'd declined, and toward then end of the evening she finally admitted that she was famished and realy needed to eat something, but had declined to be polite. She was waiting for him to offer again, and he never did.

I've never encountered this, even in my multi-cultural city. Is this really something you see a lot of (or used to see a lot of) in the South? I would feel as if I was rudely pressuring my guest if I refused to accept "No, thank you." as an answer.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2014, 06:26:27 PM »
On another message board, I read of a cultural difference that I have never encountered. I may be misremembering the demographics, so please forgive me if this is incorrect, but I believe one poster was referring to the Southern U.S. and another (who was the OP of that thread) had this issue come up with an Asian girlfirend (I'm afraid I don't remember where in Asia or East Asia she was from).

In both these cases, the posters had offered food/drink to a guest, the guest had declined, and later the posters found out they had made a faux pas because their guests were expecting to be asked no less than three times. According to them, it was like a script of manners. The host offers, the guest politely declines, the host offers again, the guest declines, and on the third offer, the guest accepts.

I remember the one poster in particular was morified because he'd offered to make his girlfriend dinner, she'd declined, and toward then end of the evening she finally admitted that she was famished and realy needed to eat something, but had declined to be polite. She was waiting for him to offer again, and he never did.

I've never encountered this, even in my multi-cultural city. Is this really something you see a lot of (or used to see a lot of) in the South? I would feel as if I was rudely pressuring my guest if I refused to accept "No, thank you." as an answer.

In this case the Asian girlfriend was in the wrong for expecting people to know her unwritten culture rules. 

katycoo

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2014, 07:11:38 PM »
On another message board, I read of a cultural difference that I have never encountered. I may be misremembering the demographics, so please forgive me if this is incorrect, but I believe one poster was referring to the Southern U.S. and another (who was the OP of that thread) had this issue come up with an Asian girlfirend (I'm afraid I don't remember where in Asia or East Asia she was from).

In both these cases, the posters had offered food/drink to a guest, the guest had declined, and later the posters found out they had made a faux pas because their guests were expecting to be asked no less than three times. According to them, it was like a script of manners. The host offers, the guest politely declines, the host offers again, the guest declines, and on the third offer, the guest accepts.

I remember the one poster in particular was morified because he'd offered to make his girlfriend dinner, she'd declined, and toward then end of the evening she finally admitted that she was famished and realy needed to eat something, but had declined to be polite. She was waiting for him to offer again, and he never did.

I've never encountered this, even in my multi-cultural city. Is this really something you see a lot of (or used to see a lot of) in the South? I would feel as if I was rudely pressuring my guest if I refused to accept "No, thank you." as an answer.

In this case the Asian girlfriend was in the wrong for expecting people to know her unwritten culture rules.

While that's technically true, if she did not realise that the process was cultural as opposed to universal, it may not have occurred to her that it even was an expectation.

DanaJ

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2014, 07:32:54 PM »
In this case the Asian girlfriend was in the wrong for expecting people to know her unwritten culture rules.
I don't think it's fair to say: "She was in the wrong."  She is no more to blame than her boyfriend was for expecting her to know his unwritten culture rules as a new visitor to the country. It was only a matter of time before she would run into this scenario while in the U.S. It was a simple misunderstanding due to cutlural differences.

Edit: A-ha! After much Googling, I was suprisingly successful. The young woman was from Japan, and shortly after that post, someon, else said that in Korea polite guests refuse food offered to them until it's shoved at them on a plate.

Also, the "offer food no less than three times/never accept before the third time" rule, according to that thread seems to be common in Minnesota and may have roots in Scandanavia. So I was indeed misremembering about it being a southern politeness.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 07:42:21 PM by DanaJ »

PastryGoddess

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Re: Success! Teaching a friend that no is not negotiable
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2014, 09:04:29 PM »
In this case the Asian girlfriend was in the wrong for expecting people to know her unwritten culture rules.
I don't think it's fair to say: "She was in the wrong."  She is no more to blame than her boyfriend was for expecting her to know his unwritten culture rules as a new visitor to the country. It was only a matter of time before she would run into this scenario while in the U.S. It was a simple misunderstanding due to cutlural differences.

Edit: A-ha! After much Googling, I was suprisingly successful. The young woman was from Japan, and shortly after that post, someon, else said that in Korea polite guests refuse food offered to them until it's shoved at them on a plate.

Also, the "offer food no less than three times/never accept before the third time" rule, according to that thread seems to be common in Minnesota and may have roots in Scandanavia. So I was indeed misremembering about it being a southern politeness.

Japan and Korea are different countries in the same part of the world. So I'm not sure how that is relevant.  Just because they do things a certain way in Korea, doesn't mean it happens the same way in Japan. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it seems like the BF and his mom were set up to fail.  The BF had no clue that this was common in her culture, the host had no clue that it was common in her culture. The time to bring things up like this is before you are hosted, not after.  Yes it was a misunderstanding, but it's one that could have been prevented.

If someone comes to my country, I expect them to read up on the culture and do their best to follow "the rules".  When I go to another country, I read up on their culture and try my best to follow "the rules".  Of course there are going to be missteps here and there, but this sort of thing seems rather PA.